Ways and Means Includes Sequestration Funds in Budget
By Maui Now Staff
The Senate Ways and Means Committee passed its version of the state budget bill on Wednesday.
The Senate version of the budget reportedly calls for $141 million less in general funds than Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s version of the budget for the 2013-2015 biennium.
In the Senate version of the bill, there is a $25 million set-aside for sequestration contingencies to account for federal spending reductions.
“Although the revenue forecast continues to improve, we took a cautious and conservative approach in our version of the budget,” said Senator David Ige, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, in a press release.
Senate leaders released the following funding highlights from the bill:
- $205.5 million: Medicaid
- $200 million: Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund, unfunded liabilities
- $55 million: Department of Education’s weighted student formula
- $54.5 million: Office of Information Management & Technology
- $26.5 million: Executive Office of Early Learning
- $25 million: Sequestration contingency fund to address nationwide federal spending reductions
- $8 million: Hawaii Growth Initiative
- $5.2 million: Agricultural task force and livestock feed development program
- $5.2 million: Agricultural resource management programs and projects
- $3.9 million: State energy projects
- $1.8 million: Homeless shelters and services
- $1 million: Hawaii Health Information Exchange
- $874,000: Veteran services
- $355,000: Hawaii Refinery Task Force
The capital improvement programs include $2 billion for 2014, and $990 million in FY2015, according to Sen. Michelle Kidani, vice chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Officials note a large portion of the funds are for transportation projects including $70 million for the expansion of the Kona International Airport, and $140 million for Honolulu International Airport.
“The investments made in the Department of Transportation focus our attention on addressing the less than ideal conditions of our roads and infrastructure, expanding our harbors and renovating the first thing our visitors see — our airports,” Kidani said.
The budget bill now moves on to the full Senate for a vote.